Opposition seeks protection for journalists after broadcaster slaying

1 August 2004

The Philippine Senate has been asked to investigate the murder of broadcaster Roger Mariano and the failure of law enforcement authorities to solve the string of killings of practicing journalists over the last two decades.

Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Pimentel Jr. and opposition Senator Jamby Madrigal are seeking an inquiry of the Mariano slaying and the adoption of reforms to protect media practitioners in the exercise of the freedom of the press. Another opposition legislator, Sen. Alfredo Lim, signed the resolution as co-author.

Mariano, host of the radio commentary program-Roger Mariano in Action– in Laoag City, was gunned down by still unknown assailants in San Nicolas, Ilocos Norte as he was on his way home in his motorcycle after his radio program on Saturday night, July 31.

Mariano was known for his hard-hitting commentaries against the rampant and continuing jueteng operations and corrupt practices of public officials.

Before his death, Mariano was reportedly about to expose in his radio program, alleged irregularities and mismanagement of local electric cooperative after he got hold of some documents.

Mariano is the third Filipino journalist killed this year, after newspaper publisher and radio commentator Ruben Endrinal in Legazpi City in February and Ely Binoya, radio commentator of Radyo Natin in South Cotabato province in June.

According to a combined list of the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines and the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility, Mariano was the 53rd journalist killed in the country since 1986 when democratic institutions were restored.

“There is an imperative need for the government to look into this alarming situation that seeks to
restrain and stifle the freedom of the press,” Pimentel and Madrigal said in the resolution.

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